Trailer lug nut tightness

Oct 19, 2021
7
MacGregor 26M Lake Grapevine
The 2007 MacGregor 26M Owner's Instructions specify that trailer lug nuts be tightened to "90 to 95 foot pounds. Don’t move the trailer one foot before checking these nuts ".

I can't get the nuts to 90 lbs. with a manual torque wrench. I'm also afraid of stripping the nuts if I try to tighten them to that extent. Does anyone know if this is a misprint? How tight are other owners going?

Thanks in advance for your advice.
 
Feb 21, 2013
3,790
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
Welcome to the forum!!

Great question!! ............lug nut torque depends on its diameter Lug Nut Torque Rating for a 5-Lug Trailer Wheel | etrailer.com. The correct torque will depend on the size of the lugs. For a 1/2-inch lug the torque spec ranges from 75- to 85-ft-lbs. For a 9/16-inch lug the torque spec ranges from 135- to 145-ft-lbs. You will want to avoid using an impact wrench or any other tool that cannot provide measured force. For example, my fifth wheel trailer wheel 3/4" diameter lug nut torque spec is 110 ft-lbs and my truck lug nut spec is 165 ft-lbs. Although I have a calibrated torque wrench, I have the wheel lug nuts torqued by my local trailer or tire guy to be sure it is done correctly. That is what I do.
 
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Oct 19, 2021
7
MacGregor 26M Lake Grapevine
Thanks for your response. These look to be 9/16" lug nuts. How do you manage to get them torqued to "75 to 85"? I lift weights on a regular basis and certainly don't consider myself to be a weakling. My torque wrench is 17" long. I set it to 80, but never heard it click. I am new to torque wrenches. Do you have these same problems? I wonder if there is some trick to this that I'm just missing. I'm also wondering if I should be signing this "Weakness in Seattle"...
 
Aug 2, 2009
466
Catalina 315 Muskegon
My 26' travel trailer required about 100lbs. torque on the lug nuts. I used an old, beam style (no click) torque wrench. Couldn't say how long it is. I easily get 100lbs. and I'm not exactly buff. With the trailer chocked in place I make sure I get good leverage, use both arms, and it's not a problem.

Of course, I make a point of working my way around the five lug nuts bringing them up to torque gradually before a applying the final muscle.

Another way would be to position the torque wrench so that you can push down on it with your foot.
 
Oct 19, 2021
7
MacGregor 26M Lake Grapevine
Thanks so much for all of your replies! Evidently the ft. lbs. in the manual is not a misprint and I shouldn't worry about destroying my nuts or studs by applying "90 to 95 foot pounds". This is very reassuring. I also have one of these "old, beam style" torque wrenches. Regardless of which torque wrench I use, it looks like I just have to try harder next time.

Now that I've found all of this out, I think it is time for me to go hit the weights.
 
Jun 21, 2004
1,884
Beneteau 343 Slidell, LA
Please don’t take this advice as gospel; by all means torque to your specs; however, I have had boat trailers and utility trailers for over 35 years. I use a 1/2” drive socket with a 15 -18” handle. Tighten the lugs in X cross manner until “tight”; not hand tight but very snug. Have never lost a lug nut, ever. Requires some effort to loosen, but don’t need a breaker bar either. I also use an anti corrosive grease on the lugs to prevent seizing of the lug & nut, that facilitates removal.
 
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Nov 30, 2020
69
Macgregor 22 Dania, FL
Second Big Easy's anticorosive. Also, get the traditional lug nut cross wrench. Tighten then as hard as you reasonably can. Broken or stripped studs happen when somebody goes to town with an air wrench.
Chip V.
 
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Sep 25, 2008
292
1970 Venture by Macgregor 21 Clayton, NC
I have been pulling a trailer for 60 years, and never used a torque wrench on the wheel bolts on my trailer or automobile. In those 60 years I have never lost a wheel, except for one time. I tighten in the rotating X patern, and tighten to with one of the X wheel wrenches until they are quite tight.

I have never had to call for assistance because I could not get the bolts loose, as I have had to do a couple times when the tire store rotated my tires.

We had pulled the boat about 80 miles from our home to the lake and spent the night on the lake. The next afternoon we put the boat on the trailer, and headed home. I was going about 55MPH down the country road, when I looked in the side mirror and saw the trailer wheel leave the boat, and go rolling down hill past the car. After putting out the grass fire, I walked down the hill and retrieved the wheel. Every thing was in its proper position, except when I tried to jack up the trailer the adrenaline had left me, and someone stopped and helped me. No damage was done to the car or boat. The one ubolt on the trailer axel held by about an eight inch or thin metal.
I had never had a problem at that ramp before or since. I think someone got caugth in the act of steeling wheel bolts and left them loose.
 
Sep 25, 2008
292
1970 Venture by Macgregor 21 Clayton, NC
I would like to add something simple to putting a wheel in place. If you do not tighten the nut correctly you can create a situation where the bolts them self will work loose. If you put the wheel on, add, the nuts and tighten them sequentially you can create stresses in wheel. Problems are created when this stress works itself out as the trailer moves.
The correct way to tighten the nuts is to tighten one snug. next the one across the center from it, and then the next one across the center. This gets the nuts centered in the depressions in the wheel for the nuts. Next repeat the process making each a little tighter, repeat the tightening pattern, and finally using the same pattern, put as much torgue on each nut as you can with about an 8 to 10" extension. This puts the wheel on with nearly equal stresses in each area of the wheel, so it will not work loose.
 
Jan 18, 2016
686
Catalina 387 Dana Point
90-95ft lbs should be pretty easy to get to with a 17" wrench. I'd call 90-95 as "Pretty Dang Tight" but not "Gorilla Tight"

I always use a torque wrench on lug nuts. Never lost a wheel, even once :)
 
Dec 28, 2015
1,357
Laser, Hunter H30 Cherubini Tacoma
The. Possibility of getting a nut torqued by hand ( without a calibrated wrench) to anywhere near the spec is pretty doubting. More likely then not it will be way over tightened. Go get a clicking type wrench and be done with it. 95 ftlbs isn’t very difficult to get to.
 

Tedd

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Jul 25, 2013
467
Between Boats near Vancouver, BC
I can't get the nuts to 90 lbs. with a manual torque wrench.
I'm going to suggest you try a different torque wrench. My first wife (5'2", 110 lb soaking wet) could torque wheel nuts to 80 ft.lb. If you can't get your torque wrench up that high I'd say the best explanation is that there's something wrong with the wrench.
 
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